David Chart's Japan Diary

September 9th 2003

At this moment, I am in California, which might seem a strange place to be starting a Japan Diary. However, today I received notification from the Yamasa Institute Aichi Center for Japanese Studies, the language school where, all being well, I will be studying, that I had been approved for a student visa.

This notification was slightly delayed, because the school had to physically mail it to me. For some reason, their email notification failed. People sending me offers to buy generic Viagra seem to have no problem at all sending me numerous emails, but something important that I actually wanted had trouble. Typical...

Still, it's good news that I've been approved, and my email link with Japan seems to be working again.

The next stage is to pay the school. I have to pay the course fees before they can send the paperwork that I need to get the visa, to stop people going to Japan on student visas and sneaking off to work on construction sites. The money has to be paid by bank transfer, which should have been no problem; my bank has a telephone banking system that I can call from the USA, even though my bank is in the UK, and that system can organise foreign fund transfers.

Unfortunately, they have a limit of £5000 on the amount that you can authorise over the phone, and I need to transfer slightly more than that to Japan. So I had to send a fax as well, with my signature on it. I just managed to send that before the faxing place closed for the night, so that should be OK. I need to telephone the UK at 1am tomorrow morning (my time) to check that the fax arrived, and to ask the wonderful people there to please fax confirmation of the transfer to Yamasa.

You see, Yamasa can't send me my Certificate of Eligibility until they have confirmation of the transfer. Since I've done it over the phone, I have nothing I can fax them. The transfer could take six working days to reach their bank account, and I really don't want to wait that long, since after the Certificate arrives I still have to go to the Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles and actually get the visa. According to their website, that normally takes three days; and I fly out of California on the 30th. Plus I have to cadge a lift to LA.

So, with all these dramatic and exciting events going on, today seemed like a good day to start the diary. I hope I'll have time to continue it when I'm actually in Japan, possibly with pictures, but the problem with a diary is that you can't prepare it in advance.

I'm also hoping to put up a parallel version in bad, but hopefully improving, Japanese. Before I can start that, however, I need to figure out how to get my computer to accept Japanese input. Don't hold your breath.